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Thread: What Caliber

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    Red face What Caliber

    What is the ideal caliber for sheep and goat?

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Sheep, by all accounts are not especially hard to kill so there are lots of choices! Anything from 243 to 338 gets used successfully. I picked the 270WSM but the good ole 270 is popular, 30-06 or 308, 7-08, 25-06. My wife carries a ruger compact in 308 and my hunting partner and his wife both carry 308's so I may pick one up too just for the convenience. Any of these cals can be used along with a BUNCH more, for me picking a rifle is more important because I try to cut weight wherever I can and the shooting stick is a good candidate! Currently I carry a Tikka T3 lite but am considering going to a kimber montana in 308 to shoot the same cal as my friends and to shave a pound. Good luck!

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    Member elkmasterwyo's Avatar
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    Default odd ball

    .280 remington

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    Member moose-head's Avatar
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    Goats are tougher than sheep so a larger caliber mght be appropriate for goats, I would think a .30 cal would be a good idea.
    If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.
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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    My brother has 14 Dall sheep to claim. He has taken all but two with a 338WM shooting 200-210gr bullets.

    The first was taken with a 7mmRM and two years ago he took one with a with a 270Win because he wasn't able to find light weight 338WM ammo that year. The 7mmRM was sold years ago.

    I'm getting him to drag me up the Brooks this fall and my Rifle will be a good shooting 300RUM. It's a light weight carbon wrap model.

    LuJon makes great mention of weight control. There has been a time or two that people leave gear behind because they simply can't carry it any further.

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Goats and sheep are two different animals altogether when it comes to adequate calibers in my opinion. Lujon mentioned a lot of the normal sheep calibers. Goats can soak up a good bit more energy before they expire, so I personally won't use less than a .30 caliber on them.

    Last year I shot my goat through the shoulders with my .330 Dakota and a 210 grain TSX. The shot was a through and through and busted up one shoulder and into the vitals. The goat still managed to get to it's feet and run on three legs. Another shot through center mass still left it able to get up enough steam to begin his roll down the mountain. Looking at the wound channels showed both bullets expanded to about 1 1/2 times the bullet diameter and the shoulder shot created a lot of shrapnel damage in the chest cavity. I was amazed it wasn't a DRT.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I didn't notice the "goat" in the original post. I would shoot a goat with a 270 or larger and perhaps one of the "laser" quarter bores like the 257 Roy, but that would cut the 243 for me. I did shoot my one goat w/ a 338 pushing a 180 grain accubond just last year. I spine shot her so anything would have done the job with that bullet placement. I watched another goat go down on the same trip with a single shot in the vitals from the same rifle. Oddly enough I also saw one take multiple 338 rounds (the same 180 accubonds) and still manage to make it a stupid distance across the mountain side before holding fast in the last little bit of cliff side where it was finally mortally hit. As an added spit in the face the thing took a dive and caught a long grass chute all the way down the mountain and hit the alders doing about 60mph! So much for "impenetrable wall of alders", that thing went WAY into them! My poor buddies drug themselves back to camp after dark at the end of one seriously long day. It turned out that the shooters scope had been knocked off on the hike up which resulted in less than ideal shot placement but still says a LOT about the toughness of the mountain goat!

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    The one you are most comfortable with and shoot the best .

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    Default my friends...

    I have and still know some hard core sheep and goat hunters. The favorite calibers that I remember since the 60's are the .270 Winchester, 30-06 and one of the .300 magnums. Bullet weights were usually 130 to 150 grains for the .270 and 150 to 180 grains for the .30 calibers. All of them say the goat is harder to kill. I would think a good .308 Win. with one of today's 165 or 168 grain premium bullets would work fine. It does for our military...

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    I killed my sheep with my 300 wsm(180 grn) and my goat with my 350 Griffin & Howe(250 grn).

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .338WM View Post
    The one you are most comfortable with and shoot the best .
    That is the correct answer.

    As for me, that line of thinking leads me to carry a 7mm Magnum most the time, or a .30-06 at other times. My wife carries a 7mm-08. All three are plenty effective, as are all of the other calibers listed here. Shoot the gun that you own and that you have practiced with.

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    .50 cal. Barrett or McMillian or .338 Lapua.............shoot 'em right from the air strip, save yourself from hiking, and watch'em roll right down to your feet.
    Last edited by kahahawai; 02-25-2010 at 22:39. Reason: mispell

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    Member Kotton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kahahawai View Post
    .50 cal. Barrett or McMillian or .338 Lapua.............shoot 'em right from the air strip, save yourself from hiking, and watch'em roll right down to your feet.
    That sure beats my .300 win, and no blistered feet!!

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    Default caliber selection

    I am an advocate of the 257 weatherby with a 115 great Barnes Tsx I have taken dozens of big game with this caliber deer,pronghorn, black bear,sheep. Last year I took my dall ram at 459 yds in the Brooks cleanly.The cartridge is my absolute favorite and for good reason flat shooting out to 400 yards,minimal recoil, and packs a hard punch.The ballistics are incredible I sighted in for a 200 yard zero last year and at 400 yds I was -7 inches at 500 -21. I feel comfortable taken it in the Brooks when your average grizzly is 6ft.Shot placement is key.

    Check it out, Big 27
    ďA man does not climb a mountain without bringing some of it away with him,and leaving something of himself upon it -- Sir Martin Conway

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    Default sheep

    you got very good advice from all, the only thing I would add is that when choosing a goat/sheep caliber remember that they live in rugged country and there will be times (especially with goat) that you will have to anchor them with one shot or they might have time to get over a cliff. I guide for them, and busted horns and ruined meat can happen. For that reason I go a little heavier than most when I am hunting for myself, 338 federal with 210s. Dont worry to much about long range stuff, with over 30 sheep that I have guided only 1 was taken past 250 yards. I agree with Lu the tikka is nice and light! have fun!

  16. #16
    Member BIG 27's Avatar
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    Default goats

    Yukon is right goats have 9 lives they are tough, I shot mine with a 7mm-08 twice in the boiler room and he still had some life in him. Brown Bears, Mt Goat, and Musk Ox you should be carrying a big stick and keep putting lead in them until you know there dispatched. Goats have the tendency to run towards the nastiest cliffs when hit and often are lost over cliffs where you can't reach them. I had a freind this happened to and he lost his prize and was sick for weeks. So my advice is the same as Yukons regarding goats the bigger the better as long as you can shoot accurately. Often times you see guys at the range that are over gunned what, I mean by that is in a controlled environment off a bench rest they are not consistent and pie plate accuracy they feel is good enough. When you have climbed all day and beat tired and there is no bench rest available, and you factor in wind,body position,breathing; it equals disaster wounded animal or best you can hope for is a clean miss so shoot the most gun you feel comfortable with. Ask friends to shoot specific calibers before you purchase know your limits.

    Best Of Luck, BIG 27
    ďA man does not climb a mountain without bringing some of it away with him,and leaving something of himself upon it -- Sir Martin Conway

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    Default Barrel thickness

    Big 27

    The trouble with quarter bore is the barrel thickness. When going for a lightweight mountain rifle a .257 Weatherby sub 6 pounds is hard to find.

    I agree with the ballistic advantages of the .257 and use them too. I would love to have a nice Weatherby in my collection. Someday.

    The one factor I've learned to deal with in shooting my 25-06 is wind drift.

    I've always estimated with a solid 25 knot strait cross wind at 400 yrds I'd have about 16-20" of wind drift with a 115g bullet leaving my barrel at 2900 fps. What would you ballistic guys say to my estimate?

    I've shot goats too. Caliber be ****ed, Placement! Placement!

    Even more important.......where on the mountain you shoot em.

    Get to the local gym and start climbing the wall. That way no matter where they roll to you'll be able to haul yourself to em'. Make sure your rifle is built solid because at this point the only thing it's good for is a walking stick.

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    Default Food for thought

    I am not a sheep hunter but I saw Lujons post on the Tikka going to the Kimber to shed some more weight. I think the Kimbers run 6.3lbs - Browning Micro Hunters run 6.2 lbs for those that are looking for a lightweight more budget friendly gun perhaps. Just thought I would bring that gun up as a lightweight contender!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    I am not a sheep hunter but I saw Lujons post on the Tikka going to the Kimber to shed some more weight. I think the Kimbers run 6.3lbs - Browning Micro Hunters run 6.2 lbs for those that are looking for a lightweight more budget friendly gun perhaps. Just thought I would bring that gun up as a lightweight contender!
    Actually the Tikkas weigh in about 6.3 pounds. The Kimber montanas (short actions ones like a .308) weigh in at 5.2 pounds. So actually you wouldn't be shaving weight at all be going from a Tikka to a Browning Micro Hunter.

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    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    Default 300 wm

    The "favorite Alaskan caliber" poll shows the 300wm tied for first with the 338wm. Of the two, I'd say the 300wm is more fitting as a lightweight mountain rifle. It packs plenty of punch for the billies and is more than enough for sheep. There are a number of off the shelf lightweight options and quite a few custom 300's floating around. If you want to shave a few more ounces go for the 300wsm.

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